TNT Signs ‘Inside the NBA’ Cast To Long-Term Contract Extensions

Let the billion-dollar media rights negotiations of the NBA commence.

On Monday, Warner Bros. Announced long-term contract extensions for the NBA’s “Inside the NBA” cast: Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and Charles Barkley.

The U.S. Media rights of the NBA with current broadcasters TNT and ESPN will come to an end following the 2024-205 season.

Amazon and Apple, two well-funded bidders, are willing to compete with the NBA to secure the rights for an extended 10-year run of the Discovery Bros. Warners’ show. Sources indicate that the new management at Discovery Bros. Warners is signaling a cost-cutting approach, which includes negotiating contract extensions for the cast.

The announcement just came for the NBA’s 2022-23 season tipoff, which includes a doubleheader on TNT. “NBA the Inside,” a long-running TV sports show, is widely recognized as the best in the studio and has won 17 Emmys.

Luis Silberwasser, CEO and chairman of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, expressed, “Acknowledging their importance in that connection, this enduring contract with the ‘Inside the NBA’ crew and our collaboration with the NBA is extremely significant to us.” The association, our thriving and enduring alliance with, embodies the ingenuity and pioneering ethos we have cultivated within ‘Inside the NBA’.

Although this is a life-altering experience, I am grateful to be able to live for a television show. If it weren’t for the amazing people I work with on our show and the blessings they bring, I wouldn’t be here. Shaquille, Kenny, Ernie, and I are not just friends, we are like brothers and have formed a big, close-knit family. “Barkley added.

Disney’s ESPN is currently pursuing media rights negotiations with the NBA, while the NFL is encroaching on the NBA’s traditional Christmas programming showcase with its own tripleheader.

NBC, CBS, and ABC, among other networks, broadcast games over the airwaves. However, ESPN’s distribution has dropped by over 100 million viewers since then, so it should generate additional viewership to make up for that. On Christmas Day, ESPN will simulcast all five of its NBA games on both its own network and the ABC network, marking the first time for such an event.

Currently, ESPN and TNT are collectively paying over $2.6 billion annually or $24 billion over nine years. The NBA will be looking to secure a long-term media rights package worth $75 billion or more for its upcoming season.

Amazon Prime Video fired a shot across the bows of TNT and ESPN incumbents by announcing an exclusive deal to stream live 87 games of this season’s Brazil playoffs, including the 24 games up to and including Monday.

Afterwards, it desires the NBA. Presently, the online retail titan assumed control as the sole collaborator of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” bundle this year.

According to sources, Amazon believes that its strong early performance with TNF makes it an appealing potential partner for rights in the NBA in the U.S.

Marie Donoghue, the vice president of Amazon’s global sports video department, expressed her enthusiasm for the Brazil deal by stating, “We are immensely thrilled to enhance our partnership with the NBA and provide Brazilian basketball enthusiasts with the opportunity to enjoy live NBA games and other thrilling NBA content.” She further added, “This NBA content will further enrich our already extensive collection of sports content available on Prime Video.”